FSI researchers work to understand continuity and change in societies as they confront their problems and opportunities. This includes the implications of migration and human trafficking. What happens to a society when young girls exit the sex trade? How do groups moving between locations impact societies, economies, self-identity and citizenship? What are the ethnic challenges faced by an increasingly diverse European Union? From a policy perspective, scholars also work to investigate the consequences of security-related measures for society and its values.

The Europe Center reflects much of FSI’s agenda of investigating societies, serving as a forum for experts to research the cultures, religions and people of Europe. The Center sponsors several seminars and lectures, as well as visiting scholars.

Societal research also addresses issues of demography and aging, such as the social and economic challenges of providing health care for an aging population. How do older adults make decisions, and what societal tools need to be in place to ensure the resulting decisions are well-informed? FSI regularly brings in international scholars to look at these issues. They discuss how adults care for their older parents in rural China as well as the economic aspects of aging populations in China and India.

Recent Scholarly Publications

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Development Challenges, Tuition Barriers and High School Education in China

December 2009

China has made remarkable progress along the path of economic transformation over the past three decades.

Community Matters in China

December 2006

In China, a growing awareness that many areas have been left behind during an era characterized by market reform has raised concerns about the impact of community disadvantage on schooling.

Choices, Hopes, and Expectations: Does Gender still Shape Access to Basic Education in Rural, Northwest China?

December 2009

Labor Market Emergence and Returns to Education in Rural China

December 2005

This paper examines the emergence of labour markets in China through the lens of returns to rural education.

Employment, Emerging Labor Markets, and the Role of Education in Rural China

December 2002

The overall goal of this paper is to contribute to the ongoing assessment of China’s rural labor markets. To meet this goal, we have three specific objectives.

Returns to Education in Rural China

December 2007

Reconciling the Returns to Education in Off-Farm Wage Employment in Rural China

February 2008

Previous studies have found that the returns to education in rural China are far lower than estimates for other developing economies.

Estimating Returns to Education Using Twins

December 2005

This paper empirically estimates the returns to education using twins data that the authors collected from urban China.

Why Does Spousal Education Matter for Earnings? Assortative Mating or Cross-productivity

December 2006

In interpreting the positive relationship between spousal education and one’s earnings, economists have two major hypotheses: cross-productivity between couples and assortative mating.

Mother's Education and Child Health: Is There a Nurturing Effect?

December 2006

In this paper, we examine the effect of maternal education on the health of young children by using a large sample of adopted children from China.

Does Taking One Step Back Get You Two Steps Forward? Grade Retention and School Performance in Poor Areas in Rural China

December 2009

Despite the rise in grade retention in poor areas in rural China recently, little work has been done to understand the impact of grade retention on the educational performance of students in these...

Malnutrition in China's Rural Boarding Schools: the Case of Primary Schools in Shaanxi Province

December 2009

The main goal of this paper is to document the nature of boarding schools and empirically analyze the difference of nutrition intake and malnutrition status between boarding and non-boarding...

Effect of Migration on Children's Educational Performance in Rural China

December 2014

Migration is one of the main ways of alleviating poverty in developing countries, including China.

Early Commitment on Financial Aid and College Decision Making of Poor Students: Evidence from Randomized Evaluation in Rural China

December 2011

Many educational systems have struggled with the question about how best to give out financial aid.

Community Service, Social Responsibility and Educational Performance in Rural China's Middle Schools: Evidence from a Case Study of Northwest China

June 2011

The overall goal of this paper is to try to understand in the context China’s middle school education system what is the tradeoff between community service and educational performance.

Behind Before They Begin: The Challenge of Early Childhood Education in Rural China

March 2012

The main goal of this paper is to analyze the factors (access, attendance and quality of preschools) that may be affecting the educational readiness of China’s rural children before they enter the...

What is Keeping the Poor out of College? Enrollment Rates, Educational Barriers and College Matriculation in China

December 2011

Opportunities to go to college and earn a degree have risen dramatically in China.

Educating Beijing's Migrants: A Profile of the Weakest Link in China's Education System

December 2009

Although rural schools in China are still lagging behind urban schools in the quality of education provided, the government has made considerable efforts in improving rural education.

Anemia in Rural China’s Elementary Schools: Prevalence and Correlates in Shaanxi Province’s Poor Counties

September 2010


School Dropouts and Conditional Cash Transfers: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Rural China’s Junior High Schools

December 2012

Recent anecdotal reports suggest that dropout rates may be higher and actually increasing over time in poor rural areas.

Transfer Paths and Academic Performance: The Primary School Merger Program in China

May 2012

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, China’s Ministry of Education embarked on an ambitious program of elementary school mergers by shutting down small village schools and opening up larger...

Conducting Influential Impact Evaluations in China: The Experience of the Rural Education Action Project (REAP)

September 2011

Impact evaluation has become an increasingly integral part of development project design and execution in recent years.

Encouraging classroom peer interactions: Evidence from Chinese migrant schools

October 2010

In a randomized trial conducted with primary school students in China, we find that pairing high and low achieving classmates as benchmates and offering them group incentives for learning improved...

Dropping Out: Why Are Students Leaving Junior High in China’s Poor Rural Areas?

July 2012

Despite both requirements of and support for universal education up to grade 9, there are concerning reports that China is still suffering from high and maybe even rising dropout rates in some poor...


alexis   good Alexis Medina Associate Director, SCCEI
Headshot of Matthew Boswell. Matthew Boswell Associate Director, SCCEI